Lake Wilhelm, Pennsylvania, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Wilhelm — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Wilhelm cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Wilhelm

Lake Wilhelm was created in 1971 with the damming of Sandy Creek for flood control purposes. Lake Wilhelm is a shallow lake with a maximum depth of about 24 feet at the dam. It has a surface area of 2,800 acres.

Lake Wilhelm is located in Maurice K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County Pennsylvania, about 15 miles west of Franklin, Pennsylvania. The park features natural beauty, wildlife, waterways and public recreational facilities. Lake Wilhelm also borders on Pennsylvania State Game Land.

Birders can watch bald eagles and osprey fish the waters of Lake Wilhelm. Surrounding meadows, fields and forests host bluebirds, purple martins, woodpeckers, woodcocks, nighthawks, snipes, and warblers. Migrating waterfowl such as the loon, common teal, goldeneye, merganser, and bufflehead visit Lake Wilhelm in the spring and fall.

Lake Wilhelm has excellent fishing and ice-fishing. Popular species include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, crappie, perch, bluegill and catfish. There is an accessible fishing pier. A Pennsylvania State Fishing License is required to fish at Lake Wilhelm.

The park and Lake Wilhelm are open during winter for ice fishing, ice boating, ice skating, sledding and tobogganing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. There is a one-acre hill for sledding at the dam. Eight miles of trails are marked for cross-country skiing. A twelve-mile paved trail follows the shoreline, and is open to biking, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Most roads surrounding the park are designated for joint snowmobile and vehicle use.

Most of Lake Wilhelm permits boats with up to 20 horsepower. Only non-powered boats are permitted within state game land boundaries. A 241 space marina and a 48 space dry land mooring area operates from May 1 to October 31. There are four boat launches, a marina building and a fueling station. Rowboats, pedal boats, canoes and kayaks are available to rent.


Sandy Creek, the stream that was dammed to create Lake Wilhelm, was noted in reports made by George Washington during his 1753 trip to Fort LeBoeuf during the French and Indian War. Sandy Creek had a recurring history of flooding. This led to a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, starting in 1939. Land was acquired in the late 1960s and Lake Wilhelm was formed in 1971. Maurice K. Goddard State Park opened in 1972.

Maurice K. Goddard State park is named for Maurice K. Goddard. once the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Forests and Waters. Goddard’s goal was to have a state park within 25 miles of every Pennsylvanian. When Goddard retired in 1979, he had helped to add 45 state parks and 130,000 acres of state park land to the Pennsylvania State Park system.

Things to Do at Lake Wilhelm

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Tobogganing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Lake Wilhelm

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Lake Wilhelm

If you’re considering a Lake Wilhelm lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Wilhelm Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Wilhelm lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Wilhelm Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: PA DCNR

Surface Area: 1,860 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,192 feet

Average Depth: 12 feet

Maximum Depth: 24 feet

Water Volume: 17,825 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1971

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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